Canada Ticked Off Bluntly on Khalistan By India
Bilateral ties have largely stagnated between India and Canada since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s visit to India in February 2018. That visit was marred by several controversies, including one over the presence of a man convicted of terror charges at an official Canadian reception.
Since then there have been virtually no high-level visits since then except Canada’s leader of opposition Andrew Scheer. He was given a red carpet welcome when he made a trip to India last October. Scheer also held a one-on-one with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, something of a rarity for opposition leaders.
Now Foreign Minister Jaishankar meeting with Freeland was the first official bilateral meeting since Trudeau’s visit. Modi had only held a pull-aside meeting with his Canadian counterpart on the sidelines of the G20 Summit.
The officials from both sides acknowledged that counter-terror and security cooperation at the level of officials is robust, but there is a gap as far as Canada’s political leadership is concerned. They also said that Canadian political parties are reluctant to do anything that could upset Sikh and Indian-origin voters ahead of general elections in October.
It was in this context that the Canadian government had scrubbed all references to Sikh and Khalistani extremism in its 2018 report on terror threats in April this year.
India has informed Canada that there is little hope for improving frosty bilateral relations if Ottawa doesn’t address New Delhi’s concerns about the burgeoning activities of Khalistani operatives and organisations,. Such behaviour will not be tolerated and will be reciprocated.
The message was conveyed by external affairs minister S Jaishankar when he held a bilateral meeting with his Canadian counterpart, Chrystia Freeland, on the margins of the G20 Summit in Japan on June 28. Though the meeting was amicable, Jaishankar had made no bones about India’s concerns about efforts by Canada-based activists and groups to revive the Khalistan movement and the perceived failure of Ottawa to take a clear stand on the matter.
The matter also figured when Canadian high commissioner Nadir Patel paid a courtesy call on Jaishankar on June 19 and the external affairs minister clearly laid out Indian’s concerns on the Khalistan issue, the people said.
There was no comment on the matter from Indian and Canadian officials but the issue had been brewing for a long time and India’s concerns could no longer be swept aside.
Canada should better wake up. It is already in the cross hairs of China and has realized what happens when the other side also retaliates in kind. It would surely not like to be in the bad book of India too. We cannot sit quietly while Canadian Government merrily keep opposing the terror groups like Khalistanis.